5G set to account for 15% of global mobile connections by 2025, says GSMA

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5G is on track to account for 15% of global mobile connections by 2025 and to contribute  €1.94 trillion to the worldwide economy over the next 15 years.

These are the findings of a new GSMA report released at MWC19 in Barcelona.

The Mobile Economy report reveals that another 16 major markets worldwide will switch on commercial 5G networks this year, following on from the first 5G launches in South Korea and the US in 2018.

GSMA calculates that mobile operators worldwide are currently investing around $160 billion (€141 billion) per year (CapEx) on expanding and upgrading their networks, despite regulatory and competitive pressures.

5G’s economic value

According to the report, mobile technologies and services generated 4.6% of GDP globally last year –  a contribution that amounted to $3.9 trillion of economic value added.

This contribution is forecast to grow to $4.8 trillion (€4.23 trillion/4.8% of GDP) by 2023 as countries around the globe increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by increased take-up of mobile services.

The mobile ecosystem also supported almost 32 million jobs in 2018 (directly and indirectly) and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with more than $500 billion (€440 billion) raised through general taxation, the report finds.

Looking further ahead, it is forecast that 5G will contribute $2.2 trillion (€1.94 trillion) to the global economy over the next 15 years, with key sectors such as manufacturing, utilities, and professional and financial services benefitting the most from the new technology.

The report also reveals that:
* The number of 5G connections will reach 1.4 billion by 2025 – 15% of the global total. By this point, 5G is forecast to account for around 30% of connections in markets such as China and Europe, and around half of the total in the US;
* 4G will continue to see strong growth over this period, accounting for almost 60% of global connections by 2025 – up from 43% last year;
* The number of global IoT connections will triple to 25 billion by 2025, while global IoT revenue will quadruple to $1.1 trillion (€0.97 trillion);
* One billion new unique mobile subscribers have been added in the four years since 2013, bringing the total to 5.1 billion by the end of 2018, representing about two-thirds of the global population;
* More than 700 million new subscribers are forecast to be added over the next seven years, with about a quarter of these coming from India alone;
* An additional 1.4 billion people will start using the mobile internet over the next seven years, bringing the total number of mobile internet subscribers globally to 5 billion by 2025 (more than 60% of the population).

Intelligent connectivity

Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, said, “The arrival of 5G forms a major part of the world’s move towards an era of Intelligent Connectivity, which alongside developments in the Internet of Things, big data and artificial intelligence, is poised to be a key driver of economic growth over the coming years.

“While 5G will transform businesses and provide an array of exciting new services, mobile technology is also helping to close the connectivity gap.

"We will connect more than a billion new people to the mobile internet over the next few years, spurring adoption of mobile-based tools and solutions in areas such as agriculture, education and healthcare, which will improve livelihoods of people around the world.”